I live in a very rural place. There are turkeys running around, deer all over the place and even a family of black bears who raid my bird feeders. When I look out my window, I see trees, birds, grass and sky. I rarely hear traffic.
A new study by King’s College in London took a look at the mental health risks of living in a city rather than a quiet rural place like mine.
The researches looked specifically at sets of twins. Some were fraternal twins, others were identical. They asked the adolescents about experiences about “subclinical psychotic” episodes. They asked if the teens ever heard voices, feared that their food had been poisoned or felt paranoid.
One out of every three adolescents experiences some form of episode that could be considered mildly psychotic. The presence of those episodes means a higher risk of developing fully psychotic thinking as an adult.
The twins in this study are part of a longer study of twins born in 1994-1995. That means that all of their background information, such as family dynamics, income, education levels. They were able to focus only on whether the young people lived in cities or not.
What they found is that living in a city was correlated with a greater incidence of these psychotic experiences. In fact, they had a 43 percent greater chance of having those scary moments if they lived in big cities.
So does city life make people crazy?
In spite of this writer’s personal opinion, the research isn’t completely clear. Earlier research has shown the same increase in episodes of psychosis, but some of that could be due to the fact that people may move to the city to find the best treatment. Who knows?
Personally, I’m just happy I live in the land of turkeys and bears.
Featured image via Pixabay.